Name Change in Texas?
Deciding whether to change your name is a big decision.
The process for changing your name in Texas will depend on the reason behind the name change: marriage, divorce, or any other reason.
Name Change in Texas
Below are the steps for changing your name after marriage in Texas.
1. The first step is to get a certified copy of your marriage certificate by filing a copy of your completed marriage license to the county courthouse.
2. Once you receive your marriage certificate, you must contact your local Social Security office. You must file Form SS-5 along with proof of identification and your certified marriage certificate. After the SS-5 form is processed, Social Security will issue you a new card with your updated name.
3. You must take your new Social Security card and marriage license to any driver’s license office to be issued a new driver’s license.
4. After you have your new Social Security card and driver’s license, you will need to notify all relevant institutions of the name change—banks, employers, insurance companies, utility companies, voter registration, etc.
Name Change After a Divorce in Texas
It is not uncommon for women to want to change their name after a divorce. Often, they will decide to go back to their maiden name. It is easiest if you make this decision before the finalization of the divorce. Below are the steps for changing your name after a divorce in Texas, when the name change is incorporated in the final divorce decree.
1. If there is a provision in the divorce decree granting your name change, the divorce decree will serve as the primary documentation needed to change your name.
2. You must contact Social Security and provide them with a copy of Form SS-5, your divorce decree, and proof of identity.
3. Visit a local driver’s license center and provide them with a copy of your divorce decree and new social security card to be issued an updated license.
4. Notify relevant institutions of your name change.
If your divorce decree does not grant your name change, you will need to get a court order. This process is described in further detail below.
Name Change Separate from Marriage or Divorce in Texas
Below are the steps you need to take to change your name if you do not have a marriage license or divorce decree.
1. You must file a petition for a name change with the county clerk. The petition must be signed in front of a notary and contain the following information:
• Identifying information (name, address, etc.);
• Your new name;
• The reason for the name change; and
• Your criminal history.
You must attach a legible and complete set of the petitioner’s fingerprints.
2. You must appear before a judge to have the name change order approved. The adult petitioner must testify to everything listed in the petition. If you have final felony convictions, the court can issue a name change if the petitioner:
- Was pardoned;
- Received a certificate of discharge by the pardons and paroles division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; or
- Completed probation ordered by a court more than two years ago.
3. After you receive an Order for a Name Change, you can contact Social Security for an updated card and get a new driver’s license.
Name Change for a Child in Texas
Name changes are slightly more complicated for children, especially if one parent contests the change. Below are the steps you must take if you want to change your child’s name.
1. Complete and file a petition with the court. The petition must include:
• The child’s identifying information;
• Why you are requesting a name change;
• The new name; and
• Whether there has been a previous court order regarding the child.
If the child is over ten, you must attach the child’s written consent.
2. The petition must be served by a constable or process server on any guardian or parent that has not had their parental rights terminated.
3. If the name change is contested, there will be a hearing. The petitioner must prove that the name change is in the best interest of the child. The court will look at the following factors when deciding what is in the child’s best interests:
• Whether the changed name or the present name would best avoid embarrassment, inconvenience, or confusion for the custodial parent or child;
• Whether it would be more convenient for the child to have the same name as their custodial parent;
• Whether the changed name or the present name would help identify the child as part of the family unit;
• The length of time the surname has been used;
• Parental misconduct;
• The degree of community respect associated with the present or changed name;
• Whether the change will positively or adversely affect the bond between either parent;
• Any delay in requesting or objecting to a name change;
• The preferences of the child;
• The age and maturity of the child;
• When the child maintains the mother’s surname, assurances by the mother that she would not change her name if she married or remarried; and
• Whether the parent seeking the change is motivated by an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent.
The Law Office Of Craig S. Michalk provides experienced legal counsel in all areas of family law; including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, adoptions, modifications, enforcements, and name changes.
Your initial consultation is free, so call us today to schedule an appointment at our Bedford, Texas office. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss and assist you with your family law legal matter.
Frank Lloyd Wright